Thursday, 28 January 2010


Comprising just one take, this bizarre independent film tells the story of a group of extortionists who prey on a family living out in the sticks in Colombia. The three men are ruthless in their methods, tearing the children from their bedrooms and tying them up in the living room. After it is revealed that the family is poor, the men are far from sympathetic, attaching a collar bomb to the mother’s neck in a shameless act of terrorism before fleeing the scene. Determined not to live in fear, the family alerts the nearest bomb squad and travels across land and river to meet them. But amidst their tenacious struggle, there are constant reminders that everything could go horribly wrong in an instant.

The film is (rather upsettingly) based on a real-life story and, in refusing to make a single cut, director Spiros Stathoulopoulos does not contrive action, instead telling the story from the perspective of the family by absorbing every single second of terror. But as much as it holds the viewer’s attention, it is hard to know what this film wants to say. The obvious question to ask is what role the camera plays as it dances around the terrorists and captures the family’s tears up close. It could be a statement pressuring the media to present such tragedies in unedited form, but this is a generous suggestion as it mostly appears to be played for entertainment. Shocking and gut-wrenching, PVC-1 is certainly not to be taken lightly.


  1. The one single unedited shot is used to put the audience there, and the camera is used as a witness character of the events that unfold for this family. Just the way the filmmakers also chose not use any music until the very end because once music is used it reminds the audience that this is a film, which the director wanted to keep the audience captive along with the family. The film had a lot to say. It is telling the world about these tragedies that happen all the time in Colombia and how the rest of the world chooses to ignore these events. No one has ever heard of this family's story outside of Colombia until this film came out. I think the film was brilliantly done and the director chose a very tasteful and poetic way to tell this tragic story of Colombia.

  2. I certainly agree with you that it has much to say on the state of Colombia today, and that it is based on a real story (or perhaps several) makes the experience even more terrifying to watch. However, I couldn't help but feel that the fact that the bomb is set to go off after a certain period, and that it occasionally makes a noise as if it's soon to go off, meant that a lot of people would be watching it for thrills rather than anything else. I will definitely try to see it again though.

  3. I'm interested in watching this, being Colombian. This was a big tragedy and I vividly rememeber it as it was caught on camera and all over the news (it's porbably on youtube). The role of the news cameras was seriously questioned then as they followed the tragedy as it unfolded. Without having seen the film from what you describe, It seems maybe that's what the role of the camera in the film is trying to suggest? The whole thing also happened in the middle of preliminary peace talks and was used for politically effect by some. I hope this painful chapter of out history isn't just being exploited for the thrills of a movie. That's what Colombian history has been for the movie world so far, just a cartoon.